Eye Care for Children

Does your child need a routine eye check up?

Every child needs to undergo a routine eye check with a trained eye specialist at least once before 5-6 years of age.

Unlike adults, most children who have never worn glasses before, cannot tell if their vision is normal or reduced, especially if they are less than 8 years of age.

Children with serious visual problems are usually identified by either the parents or the teachers due to the difficulty they face in performing daily tasks at home and schools.

But children with refractive errors or other minor treatable conditions which affect vision, usually do not have much difficulty in performing their daily tasks.

Such children are at risk of developing a condition called ”Amblyopia”, also commonly known as “Lazy eyes”, where the vision does not improve fully even after wearing spectacles or after treating the condition causing low vision despite having the potential to see properly. This develops in children who have not been treated for an extended period of time, or in children who are not wearing their prescribed spectacles properly.

Amblyopia can be prevented by having periodic check up with an pediatric ophthalmologist in Dubai, atleast once before 5-6 years of age, and every 6 months or yearly once till 8-13 years of age, to rule out any refractive error or other treatable conditions, which should be concurrently treated.

If a child develops amblyopia, it can still be treated till 13 years of age by correcting the refractive error or underlying , and with regular usage of the prescribed spectacles as advised by the ophthalmologist.

Apart from simple refractive errors, children may also have serious undiagnosed conditions such as keratoconus, congenital or developmental cataracts, strabismus, night blindness, etc.

Many of these conditions are treatable, with best outcomes when treated early.

If amblyopia, secondary to a refractive error or other treatable conditions, is identified after 13 years of age, even with regular usage of glasses or treatment of the particular condition, the outcome is usually sub-optimal and not satisfactory.

Ideally,a child is screened by a pediatrician till 3-4 years of age during their regular check up and immunization for any obvious eye problems. If the pediatrician feels that the child has some eye problem, then the child is referred to an ophthalmologist in Dubai.

After 4 years of age or older, once a child is able to read, it is ideal to check the vision with a vision chart to rule out defective vision either by a pediatrician or an ophthalmologist.

In many developing countries, screening takes place in schools yearly once usually by volunteer groups of optometrists or doctors.

But despite this, in certain countries, like India, almost 50% of childhood blindness/severe visual impairment is due to treatable pathologies, of which refractive errors constitute almost 33%.

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